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Monks Road Social

Rise Up Singing!

    Monks Road Social are an ever-changing collective of artists (some well-known, some just starting out) all with one thing in common - a love of making music.

    Following the three genre bending albums MRS has already released this time round Richard Clarke turned to WONDERFULSOUND head honcho Miles Copeland to navigate the the vibe alongside mainstay of the band, the inimitable Dr Robert of Blow Monkeys fame.

    Miles first showed up on debut album Down The Willows with the dreamy 'Golden Day' featuring Isle Of White favourite Angelina.

    First single 'I’ll Keep On Searchin’ featuring Dr Robert on vocals is a lilting soulful slice of summer pop combining sweet melancholy and wistful chord changes.

    Dr Robert explains “The song came from a piece of music Miles presented to me. It put me in mind of “Friends” era Beach Boys or early Smokey so the song came very quickly. Lyrically its informed by a kind of yearning. A desire for change, growth and connection. The things we’ve all been missing so much that give life meaning”

    Miles continues… “The idea for this single came about from these 2 loops sampled from some charity shop record creating this infectious lazy, jazzy groove but I knew the music needed to change and become its own thing… so when the Monks Road Social posse came knocking I knew the calibre of musicians involved would be able to flip it around, and that’s how a majority of the LP was written”.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Rise Up Singing! (Feat Paul Weller)
    2. I'll Keep On Searchin' (Feat Dr Robert)
    3. By The Water's Edge (Feat Neil Jones)
    4. Spirit Level (Feat Romy Deighton & Orphy Robinson)
    5. Let Love Prevail (Feat Matt Deighton)
    6. Borderline (Version) (Feat Angelina)
    7. Lizabethan (Feat Matt Deighton)
    8. Smoke & Mirrors (Feat Dr Robert)
    9. Serafina (Feat Romy Deighton)
    10. Easy Pickings (Feat Arthur Melo & Leah Weller)

    Nev Cottee

    Madrid

      A rich musical journey comprising eleven songs, Madrid channels the chaotic charms of the Spanish capital where Nev has recently relocated.

      "I love the way life works here. It's organised chaos. Walking the neighbourhoods of Lavapiez and La Latina you begin to see how everything is perfectly balanced...how to eat, how to party and then how to relax! It's perfection. When it all gets too much I run away to the English countryside"

      Side A cut 'The Ring' calls to mind Cowboy In Sweden era Hazlewood while that Mustang bass, scratchy guitars and cool 60's drum fills invoke Serge and Vannier for ' Silver Screen' and title track 'Madrid'. Scott 4 is obviously a touchstone and Nev has never been one to hide his reverence for one of the greatest albums of all time. Seven minute wonder 'Under The Skin' channels Walker's brooding lyrical majesty while long time collaborator and producer Mason Neely brings Phil Spector madness to a disorientating string arrangement. Violas, cellos and violins swoop and merge in a hallucinatory finale to side A.

      Side B includes the 60's pop of 'A Million Years', a string quartet ode to the mysterious Angela' and 'Johnny Ray'- a driving Morricone tale of a 'Leather clad stranger/God's lonely man/A modern day Lone
      Ranger The album begins and ends on a reflective note as instrumental 'Maps To The Stars' guides the listener into Madrid's kaleidoscopic world while the Waits-like lullaby 'All's Well That Ends Well'bookends the journey
      with soft piano and cello tones. Spending time in M(adrid we encounter a lust for life's undeniable, intangible magic.


      TRACK LISTING

      1. Maps To The Stars
      2. Renunciate
      3. Silver Screen
      4. The Ring
      5. Under The Skin
      6. Madrid
      7. Johnny Ray
      8. A Million Years
      9. Angela
      10. Lost Love
      11. All's Well That Ends Well

      James McArthur And The Head Gardeners

      Tourist Town/ Plane Sailors

        Taken from the 4 Star Shindig Reviewed LP Intergalactic Sailor, James McArthur And the Head Gardeners AA sided single is the only physical release from this session. Tourist Town is smothered in James's hushed vocals, The flip Plane Sailors grooves acoustic guitars and beats. Think Jansch & Drake with the Beta Band. WIth help from Syd Arthur this limited single was originally released as part of the Wonderfulsevens subscription club. 

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Tourist Town
        2. Plane Sailors 

        Luca Nieri

        Alchemy

          We tend to think of Alchemy as some kind of black magic, but its roots are far more of this world, the origins of it found in medieval times, its aim simply to purify, mature, and perfect certain objects. It’s also the title of Luca Nieri’s brand new album, a spellbinding collection of instrumental music, a skewed homage to Nieri’s favourite film soundtracks of the 60s and 70s, and the follow-up to 2017’s self-titled effort, which was lauded by Rough Trade as a record which “exists in a cosmos, textured and beautifully melancholy.”

          Informed by the notion of alchemy, and inspired by the desire to create moods without words, Nieri began to explore the idea of Cymatics, a process in which different patterns are created by the vibration of an object’s surface. Suitably, the resulting album is something both peculiar and indistinct. Once more recorded at home, the twelve tracks on Alechmy bristle with energy and intrigue, old sounds woven together in new ways to create something decidedly unique.

          With simple numbers rather than song titles, Nieri’s latest work will take on a unique life of its own for each and every listener; the subtle unraveling of the songs not just tying themselves to the world around us but forging new pathways, new images and landscapes, as they roll subtly forward, beautifully detailed and expansive.

          From subtle weaves of guitar, meandering and starkly atmospheric, and fragile piano pieces, to the more brightly-coloured and varied compositions that showcase an assembly of various instruments, including bass, drums, harpsichord, Alchemy utilises intricate production methods, elevating the whole record in to some kind of psychedelic dream-state, a labyrinthine journey of sound.

          At once both elegant and complex, Alchemy is as a unique piece of work as we’ve come to expect from Nieri, via his previous work with The Monk’s Kitchen and his subsequent solo work.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. 1
          2. 2
          3. 3
          4. 4 (Windmills Of Your Mind)
          5. 5
          6. 6
          7. 7
          8. 8
          9. 9
          10. 10
          11. 11
          12. 12

          The Severed Limb

          Good And Gone

            The Severed Limb are a young six-piece skiffle band from London who write songs influenced by a variety of roots styles. The band released their debut EP in Oct 2010 to much acclaim and released an album for Damaged Goods in 2014.It led to a filmed BBC Session with Steve Lamacq who said of them "Rampant and joyful ... an infectious mix of old rock & roll styles playfully twisted for (today)".

            From busking with washboards to recording raucous rock in pub basements, Severed Limb are the epitome of DIY. Born and bred in Brixton, the Londoners’ new album is the point at which punk and skiffle meet with one clear aim; to take their sound from the streets and make people dance to a pub-punk rock that’s defiantly outspoken.

            Buskers by day, noise-makers by night, ‘Severed Limb Strikes Again' sums up the band’s tormented, vastly defiant look at the world and all its ills; from drink and drugs, even to love. Ever since Bobby, and fellow rebels-with-a-cause Charlie, his half-brother Leo, Sam, Alex and Simon, came together to record their first tracks on cassette in the basement of a pub where Charlie was landlord after bonding over their favourite jukebox sounds, they’ve been on a mission to make a noise – sonically and politically – and to get the world bopping in the process.

            Written, right there, on the concrete of London’s Borough Market during one of the bands regular busking sessions, the album’s spontaneity, from the immediate Undertones stomp of opener ‘Oh My My!’, will make anyone take notice – including singer Imelda May who invited the band to open her show at The Royal Albert Hall. “It’s the first track we recorded and we only did one take. We wanted it to sound like a slap in the face. It's about staying engaged with life and not giving in. It's also about South London - the vilification of poor young people and the rampant gentrification. I'm a socialist so I feel I can stick my oar in,” tells Bobby.

            Swelling with their own authentic take on the sounds they love, each track is infused with sounds from the 50s to the 70s; from the Tom Waits style percussion of ‘Poison’ to ‘Freezing Point’ which revives Berlin-era Iggy & The Stooges as it reveals details of a recent visit to China. “I played in a heavy metal bar that was owned by a policeman - something that was completely illegal for him to do! I also visited a school where children sang the communist anthem 'March of the Volunteers' every morning,” tells Bobby.

            Laid down on two-inch tape in an all-analogue New Forest studio, the band were given chance to express their appreciation for a vintage sound in their own frank way – even if things did take a mysterious turn. “We'd drive down to Dorset and it was great to be totally isolated,” they say. “The studio was a wooden hut near a village called Burley which is famous for witchcraft. It was an apt place to record the b-movie horror film-inspired tracks like ‘Bela Lugosi’. Hopping from punchy skiffle to the murkier depths of visceral punk rock, Severed Limb imperfectly embody the uncompromised spirit of true rock’n’roll.


            TRACK LISTING

            1. Ooh My My!
            2. Poison
            3. Bela Lugosi
            4. Salamander
            5. Feed Me Seymour
            6. Freezing Point
            7. Severed Limb Strikes Again
            8. It's Not Fine

            An introduction to a new mystical world, Waiting Around fuses the great Brit folk-jazz traditions of Nick Drake, Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, with further-flung sounds of Gene Rains, Eden Ahbez, Moondog and Sun Ra.

            Whilst their influence would not sit so brazenly on John’s rolled-up sleeves, each one possesses inspiring techniques; “I deliberately listen to how music is recorded and put that into my process,” John explains. “A lot of percussion in exotica stuff or Indian, South American folk gives me ideas. Things like a distorted reggae hi hat or a backing vocal that’s way too loud and bleeds all over the other musicians – I like natural accidents which you only get with tape.”

            Fittingly titled, Waiting Around is the fruits of melodic craftsman, John Stammers’ labour. Arriving no sooner than six years since the release of his 2011 debut; a physically demanding day job and fascination for all things analogue has made way for a record of stark beauty and enduring quality - delayed only by an unyielding sense of intrepid experimentalism.

            Sounding like its own reel of ticker tape, Waiting Around is punched with even more magical moments; given its name, it’s a wake-up call (“It means you’re wasting your life and not being as productive as you or I should be!” John says), whilst beautifully warm songs recall friends as well as past and present loves. ‘Stepping Round Her Clothes’ captures the feeling of being young and in love whilst fiancée Yasmin plays a starring role in ‘Woman.’ “’Risky Flowers’ is about a troubled young man I knew who smoked heroin; he didn’t do it regularly but then I once met him and he looked bad. People said they didn’t recognize him. Then I didn’t see him for ages – that was three years ago,” John says.

            Waiting Around also features the varied skillset of John’s many musical friends. Paddy Steer (Home Life, 808 State) lends his expertise by way of homemade percussion, Nancy Elizabeth plays Celtic harp and adds warmth with her vocals, piano melodies are provided by Aidan Smith and Alfie’s Ben Dumville plumps up proceedings with rousing trumpet sounds.

            Produced by Jim Spencer (The Charlatans, Bert Jansch), Miles Copeland (Superimposers), and Dan Munslow (The Monks Kitchen, Luca Nieri), the album was recorded in Eve studio, nestled in Manchester’s city suburbs. “The idea was to book the studio for two weeks and rehearse in my cellar,” tells John. “We got to choose which tape machine to use, synths, compressors – the perfect place to record if you’re geared to analogue and like 18th century chapels.”


            TRACK LISTING

            1. Waiting Around
            2. Stepping Round Her Clothes
            3. Woman
            4. Risky Flowers
            5. Miss Valentine
            6. I See The Signs
            7. Oblivion
            8. Your Time 

            If you’ve been wondering what’s been keeping Lee Southall busy all this time, you’re about to find out. On Iron In The Fire, the former The Coral guitarist brings the outside world in through quality songmanship – showing that whichever paths our lives may take, our exposure to the elements will remain the same.

            Taking an alternative path to each of his Coral cohorts, when the group disbanded in 2012, Lee left behind his native seaside town of Hoylake on the Wirral, and moved 75 miles inland to the ‘tops’ of Hebden Bridge. In search of a fresh start, the dramatic wind-beaten and changeable landscape gave Lee time and space to craft Iron In The Fire but equally, it lingers like the taste of the salty air hanging above the coast. “I’ve lived by the sea and watched weather roll in, but it's the same in Hebden, watching storms roll over the moors,” Lee says. “The place is changing all the time and sometimes looks a bit chocolate box, village of the year, but when the tourists are gone it can feel like the set of a 1970s BBC folk horror - a bit Wicker Man.”

            Written in his new hilltop dwellings between spending time with his daughter (‘Spread Your Wings’ and ‘Yesterday Morning’ were inspired by her) Iron In The Fire’s initial demos were home recorded in Lee’s conservatory and the kitchen of good friend John Heron. Emerging from demos where birdsong interrupts the fret-squeaks, the album’s warmth recalls the classically 70s West Coast America sounds of James Taylor and The Byrds, alongside Brit folk outsiders John Martyn, Bert Jansch, and Davey Graham. “Recording in the conservatory was interesting,” Lee recalls. “In some of the demos you can hear the rain battering on the roof. It has a natural quality I love. Some of that is in the album… the sound of fingers on strings. I wanted it to sound human, not too smooth or polished.”

            In a sad turn of events, his friend Heron passed away having never heard the final record, but from those initial recordings Iron In The Fire evolved and just like the interchangeable weather of West Yorkshire itself, moves confidently from the beautiful to the mysterious. From the simplistic title-track which introduces a wave of erudite guitar with just a few lines of lyrics, to the heady textures of frenzied ‘In Accordance,’ or ‘Misty Mae’s reference to two worlds, we’re given a full and varied picture of Lee’s musical and personal journey so far.

            “When I play the songs live it's fluid; they can and do change. I don't like things too structured. Some are like soundtracks, there's a lot of weird stuff going on around them,” he emphasises. Riding the elements, ‘Under The Weather’ and ‘Above The Storm’ incorporate Lee’s love of films and classic TV series by bringing their own atmospheric tales into the fore whilst ‘Sleep’s pedal steel twang and the cello on ‘Blue Skies’ channels his inner Townes Van Zandt and Gram Parsons.

            Self-financed, the album was recorded over just a few days at Manchester’s Airtight studios with Lee’s own league of melody makers; producer Seadna McPhaill, guitarist Ant Davey, and Mark 'Horse' Phillips on pedal steel with Al Lowles from Airtight on mastering duties. However the album is very much the sound of Southall standing alone on his own two feet. “Music's in my blood, it's all I know how to do. The decision to work on my own album felt obvious, natural. Iron In The Fire feels like something I've been waiting for.”


            TRACK LISTING

            1. Iron In The Fire
            2. Misty Mae
            3. Shade Of Blue
            4. Sleep
            5. Under The Weather
            6. Blue Skies
            7. Nobody Wins
            8. Spread Your Wings
            9. Yesterday Morning
            10. Above The Storm
            11. In Accordance

            Shawn Lee

            Zombie Playground OST

              Shawn Lee, the hardest working man in the music business, was recently approached to provide some music for a zombie computer video game. So in typical Shawn Lee fashion he wrote a whole lp! Shawn then approached Wonderfulsound asking if we wanted to release "Zombie Playground" on limited audio cassette tape in time for halloween. Why not!

              Includes immediate download of 16-track album in the high-quality format of your choice (MP3, FLAC, and more), plus unlimited mobile access using the free Bandcamp listening app.

              TRACK LISTING

              Main Theme
              Zombie 380
              On The Prowl
              Zombie Shuffle
              Zombie Rider
              Hammer Horror
              Playground Love
              Faster Faster
              Zpg Ballad
              Brain Brunch
              Corridor Horror
              Apocalypso
              Janitor’s Jam
              Janitor Strikes Back
              Dead Man Walking

              The Superimposers

              Harpsichord Treacle

                After a two year hiatus and a severe falling out with their previous label, Dan Warden and Miles Copeland return as The Superimposers with brand new album on their own self-financed Wonderful Sound imprint. All that wrangling hasn't diminished the duo's ability to write beautifully crafted songs though, which they do with aplomb here. And their love of 1960s gentle psyche / baroque-pop is also still well and truly present, making "Harpsichord Treacle" a must for fans of anything Hazlewood / Axelrod / Left Banke.


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